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Experiencing summer brain drain? Not NMSU Upward Bound students

While school was out for the summer, students in the TRIO Upward Bound Program at New Mexico State University spent time preparing for the upcoming year.


Two boys work with a test tube while a woman looks over their shoulders.
Marco Esparza (left) and Martin Luna, TRIO Upward Bound Academy participants at New Mexico State University, discovered the difference between physical and chemical changes in a science class as Rosa De La Torre-Burmeister, program director, looks on. (Courtesy photo)

The TRIO Upward Bound Bridge Program helps recent high school graduates get ready for college life. From May 23 to June 28, 11 students from Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden Independent School District lived on campus for five weeks as NMSU freshmen.

NMSU also hosted 39 Las Cruces and Gadsden high school students for the TRIO Upward Bound Academy from May 31 to July 6. The students spent six weeks on campus taking classes in math, science, English, computer science and Spanish.

Upward Bound is one of eight federal TRIO Programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs.

“NMSU’s TRIO Upward Bound Program includes an academic year program along with respective summer components for its participants. Summer programming consists of the Bridge and the Academy. The goal of Upward Bound Bridge is to help high school students transition into postsecondary education. The goal of the Upward Bound Academy is to continue to augment their high school curriculum by providing an English, science, math, computer science and a foreign language ‘on campus boot camp’ that helps them remain interested in high school completion and continuing with their postsecondary education,” said Rosa De La Torre-Burmeister, TRIO Upward Bound program director.

The Bridge students earned seven credit hours during the first summer session after they completed two university level credit classes, an English class and the University 150 Freshmen Year Experience. These new NMSU freshmen also participated in an on-campus internship in offices such as Undergraduate Admissions, Aggie Welcome & Orientation, College of Engineering Dean’s, Engineering Technology, Library Dean’s Office and Archives & Special Collections, College of Health and Social Services’ School of Nursing, Campus Tutoring and Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

A Las Cruces Oñate High School graduate and Bridge Program participant, Marcello Martinez said he was happy with his experience.

“The Bridge Program does an excellent job of preparing students for their college experience and also getting them credits under their belt. The Bridge Program definitely helped me a lot,” he said.

Martinez, who plans to major in engineering technology, worked in the College of Engineering Dean’s office and was offered a job after his internship concluded.

In addition to their classes, students in the Academy visited sites such as White Sands Missile Range and NMSU’s College of Engineering Controls and Automation Lab, also known as the “Lego Lab,” while learning CPR training at the NMSU Fire Department as well as viewing a demonstration at the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourist Management.

Academy student Daymond Wooton said she enjoyed the summer program because it will help with her senior classes at Oñate.

“During the summer, kids’ brains go off, and this keeps me focusing and learning, so that I’m ready for the next year, instead of being on the off mode for three months,” she said.

Upward Bound covers all program costs, and students are provided a stipend based on participation and attendance.

Upward Bound serves students in ninth grade through 12th grade. To enter the program, students have to apply and interview. About 95 percent of the students in the Upward Bound Program attend NMSU after high school.

The Upward Bound program with Las Cruces and Gadsden serves 90 students. This summer NMSU received a five-year grant renewal for the Las Cruces and Gadsden program, along with two five-year grants to create a partnership with Alamogordo and Hatch Valley high schools, which will support 60 students at both schools each year.

For more information on the NMSU Upward Bound Program visit https://trioub.nmsu.edu.